Home Improvement in Ecuador

This thread is for members to share information about anything related to home improvement in Ecuador. Recently, I began inquiring about the cost of aluminum blinds. These are called persianas de aluminio here. Anyhow, the prices I was given were high and ranged $30-$35 per cubic meter.

If it was just one window, maybe I would have accepted the price but I needed more than 20 meters. For folks who know a little about interior design, horizontal aluminum blinds are ideal for loft style apartments, and that’s exactly how my second floor looks like.

So, my goal was to get this particular window dressing style but at a much cheaper price. So I started searching for the style and color. I found exactly what I wanted at Ferrisariato. They offered blinds that were made locally and Chinese made. I make it a habit to not buy Chinese when I have a choice. The Ecuadorian made costs twice as much, but the design and material are superior. The Ivory color was also what I was looking for.

I Installed them myself and for less than half the price that the vendors were offering.  To complete this little home improvement project I needed a drill (taladro). My options were to rent or buy one. I decided to buy as I’ll have more home improvement projects in the future.

There are pros and cons with installing your own window dressing. The obvious benefit is that it costs much less. The negative is that the choices are limited because with vendors you can choose any color you want. You can choose any length or width. In my case, as I stated previously, the color Ivory is divine during the day and night. Also, choosing standard sizes is a good thing as they won't be limited to one particular window/home.

Until the next project....

Oh, the many DIY projects I will be doing in the next 12 months at my Novia's home.
Painting. Remodel the bathroom. Remodel the kitchen. Lighting fixtures. Plumbing.

The one tool I will be bringing, despite the weight, is my hammer drill. I don't want to buy a new one. I have a ladder I would love to bring, but it won't fit in the luggage.

I am also bringing some other small hardware that I couldn't find at megakywi, like studor air admittance valves for the sinks and a quality 2-inch angle paint brush for trim work.

The good news for people who enjoy home improvement but couldn't bring their tools is that they are relatively inexpensive. The top brands are Bosch, and DeWalt. A good hammer drill is about $60+. There are of course cheaper brands as well for $20-$30 and will vary depending on power. If it's only light work then the cheaper brands are just fine. 

My recommendation for tools is Ferrisariato. It's  IMO cheaper than Kywi and with a mi comisariato card you save as much as 10 percent.

Really??

If I can get an decent hammer drill for $60 there, I will just give mine to my dad before I return in November

I thought I saw them for $250.

You just saved me a ton of space in my luggage!

This is a DeWalt sold by Kissufor $63. You can find probably same a little cheaper at Ferrisariato. 

Do your diligence before making any decision because there are drills that cost more.

Thanks again! I guess I just got a fixed price stuck in my head and didn't bother to research it because I was convinced I'd want to bring it. I realized a drill is the only power tool I can't give up...Call me sentimental!

Then I was talking to mi Novia about your reply, and she told me her brother has a hammer drill anyway! I checked the specs and his drill is similar in power to mine. 

Really, it's a relief to not carry that beast in my luggage. But for $250 I would have. $63 I won't. And it looks like I won't have to buy it anyhow.

I think you mean cost per square meter. A cubic meter would make enough blinds for a village

BYRONJASMINE :

I think you mean cost per square meter. A cubic meter would make enough blinds for a village

Yeah definitely squared meter.

Next project that I'm working on is a weatherproof counter for my terrace. A word I was pronouncing like Teresa when the pronunciation is Terraza. Anyhow, I'm just designing it and a carpenter will make it. Per his recommendation, the top of the counter will be made using ceramic tiles.

After the holiday, I’m going to install a hot water heater. My new place has an awful one that is beyond being ancient. This is something that I knew prior renting and one of the reasons I got a good deal. But anyways, I’m tired of taking cold showers.

The choices are electric and gas powered. I’m definitely opting for gas as it can be installed safely and securely outside the house (CO2). The selections of heaters basically vary by how many liters of hot water releases per minute, at least this is my understanding. So I’ve got quite a bit of research to do this weekend in order to choose the most suitable.

As for the installation, the ones I'm looking at is included in the price. As far as brands go, I’ve seen some strange names. Some heaters actually look identical with the exception of the name. This is often the case with Chinese/Taiwan products that are produced by the same factory. The same product is then offered in different names which gives distribution/import rights for the same product to more than one importer.

I’ll, however, probably opt for the most affordable brand name one for reassurance. If anyone has any experience with a particular brand, do share your info.

Good morning all,

I’ll share my water heater research with other residents of Ecuador. I previously stated that I’m opting for a gas heater but needed to decide how many liters per minute is adequate for my needs. Also, keep in mind that I’m only interested in an on-demand water heater (vs tank).

The gist of the research concluded that I need at least a 7-liter per minute heater. This is adequate for a person taking a shower but without hot water being used elsewhere in the home. So, if a person has a family and hot water will be turned on simultaneously at more than one place then higher capacity is better.

Alright, with this valuable info at hand, I also needed to narrow down the brand. I haven’t decided yet but locally Chilean (Splendid), Chinese (Haier etc), and Turkish brands seem to be popular. They also offer Bosch but a measly 6-liter per minute heater costs about $400. I’m not paying $400 for 6 liters per minute and may very well opt for a Chilean that is similarly priced but offers 16 liters per minute. This way hot water can be turned on simultaneously at two sources.

Now, that I know a little bit about water heaters and how much they cost, I’ll visit a couple of shops in Quito to shop around. I’ll feel more confident buying from a brick and mortar shop and not online. The reason is primarily warranty which IMO is best honored when the vendor has a physical address.

I wish there were a Consumer Reports for LatAm. I have been using consumer reports recommendations since I was 12. Without it, I'm lost!

Who has experience with the electric shower heads? They freak me out, but I think we might need to get one installed. I don't think this building is grounded. that has to be done first. GFCI outlets? Are those even a thing in Ecuador?

What Brands are recommended for electric shower heads? I want the safest, most durable. not the cheapest.

What about brands for the bathroom? Like toilets, faucets? I always went with Kohler or American Standard in the past, and I haven't seen these brands here. I'm interested in high functional quality and durability.

Brands of appliances, like fridges, dishwashers, and induction oven ranges?

The same superintendent or conserje (kohn-SEHR-hay) has been overseeing the infrastructure in my condo complex in Centro Histórico, Quito, since I first moved in during 2013.

He has a wealth of knowledge .. from which brand of water heater to avoid .. to which plumber or security-door installer to use .. to which company can reliably install blackout window curtains.

Find a conserje or similar in your neighborhood.  This may not be the maestro,  per se, for any particular specialty .. but he will probably know how to contact the right party for good work at a fair price.

In my case, the conserje and his brother-in-law do some work themselves.  They successfully replaced/upgraded the tiling after the original water heater broke and flooded the kitchen and comedor .. and repainted the walls .. and my refrigerator (to golden).

cccmedia

Smart Gringos prep for their encounters with conserjes and maestros.

If the customer wants a particular aparato that will be secure, not cheap, long lasting .. he studies up on the Spanish words beforehand.  He knows how to speak the color, the size, possibly the general price range.

Even if you can't put a good sentence together, knowing half a dozen words describing what you want, or don't want -- nouns and adjectives -- goes a long way to saving time and reducing confusion.

Try to pay for materials only up front and, for larger jobs, pay for labor step by step as progress ensues.  Never pay all of the estimate in advance.

cccmedia

Well I did see Kohler at a big Megakywi store in Guayaquil (Ave Isidora?) At more than 3x the price of domestic Ecuadorian brands. Fortunately, I am not doing the bath remodel this year.

Megakywi had the same Delta shower head I have installed in two houses in the US, and now I put it in my place in Guayaquil. The low pressure is less of an issue now.

lebowski888 :

I wish there were a Consumer Reports for LatAm. I have been using consumer reports recommendations since I was 12. Without it, I'm lost!

Who has experience with the electric shower heads? They freak me out, but I think we might need to get one installed. I don't think this building is grounded. that has to be done first. GFCI outlets? Are those even a thing in Ecuador?

What Brands are recommended for electric shower heads? I want the safest, most durable. not the cheapest.

What about brands for the bathroom? Like toilets, faucets? I always went with Kohler or American Standard in the past, and I haven't seen these brands here. I'm interested in high functional quality and durability.

Brands of appliances, like fridges, dishwashers, and induction oven ranges?

For added safety, you can install a residual current circuit breaker for the electric shower-head. It will trip before anyone is electrocuted to death. If you want something good and functional you can opt for the boxy electric showers. There are some good German brands like Stiebel Eltron at Kywi. They are professionally installed by certified electricians via Kywi.   

As for fridges, I bought an Indurama which is locally made. Looks nice with aluminum front and has a water dispenser. Pretty much silent with occasional humming sound. I like it.

a few things I've learned regarding home improvement in Ecuador:

Using the wrong term, or the word used in other Spanish speaking places may result in confusion. The maestro or clerk at Disensa or Kywi might not know what you are talking about (frustration coming from personal experiences)

1. What we often call Stucco in American English, also known as exterior portland cement plaster, is correctly translated as Enlucido in Ecuador. It might be called estuco or enfoscado in other Spanish speaking countries.

2. that first coat of paint we put on walls is Primer in American English. It is correctly translated as Sellador in Ecuador. It might be called Primer Blanca, or yeso/gesso in other countries.

vsimple :

As for fridges, I bought an Indurama which is locally made. Looks nice with aluminum front and has a water dispenser. Pretty much silent with occasional humming sound. I like it.

We bought a fridge, mid price range of options - I forget the brand - is silent until it isn't then is like  a jet taking off. The bottom veg tray, cracked the first time it was filled with veg and after 4 months, is cracked  /split / shattered in multiple places.

But hey, it has a stupid water cooler that holds a pathetic amount of water and takes up valuable refrigeration space

:)

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